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  • I'm a creator, entrepreneur, author of DREAM YEAR, and aspiring novelist. My wife Ainsley and I live in Virginia Beach with our five kids Wyatt, Dylan, Cody, Annie & Millie

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Ben,
I'm hearing you on some points in your recent blogs re leaders, but I love how Biblical values are an afront to wordly wisdom:
"But God chose what is foolish in the world....so that no human being might boast in the presence of God."
I love that one of the "highest capacity leaders" in our church is the most faithful set-up guy we've got. It magnifies the Gospel, and demonstrates that his (our) truest identity is not found in his profession, or even in his (our) skill set, but who he (we) are in Christ.

I'm with Corey on this. I think it is crucial to have a group of faithful, great thinkers and leaders but if they are not willing to do the set-up or clean the toilets then I don't think they are ready for leadership.
BTW- the pastors and other staff should be jumping in on those activities every once in a while too to not only encourage those that are doing them all the time but to remind ourselves that we are not somehow above them.

ben,

i usually enjoy your posts, but i really feel like you're missing it by a mile on these leadership posts.

i do think we need to try to enable and equip people to serve in areas that best utilize their giftedness...

but

the tone of these posts seems to be saying that jobs like handing out bulletins and helping park people are "beneath" these "high caliber" people.

maybe i'm misreading you.

but, if i'm not, how does james 2:1-7 speak to this kind of mentality?

and what about Jesus washing his disciples feet, and then telling them to love one another THE WAY HE LOVED THEM?

i'm just not sure that the "leadership" and "respecting of persons" you're promoting here is biblical.

If someone has the ability to build things we never have a problem asking them to use their gifts on the church work day or to build a set for the childrens christmas play. I see nothing wrong with engaing a guy from NASA with the desire of tapping into his mind...which is one of his greatest gifts.

And as far as preferential treatment...if we are meeting with joe the carpenter we will often set up a breakfast meeting at the Waffle House because it is a comfortable setting to develop a relationship. It seems to me that the Marriott is no different if we are trying to engage coorporate folks.

I think this is very spiritual...we are all part of the body. Most of these professionals got where they are because they did whatever it took. I am sure they would be glad to hand out bulletins...but why not engage their unique skill sets?

Heresy Benjamin!

Are you really saying to 'meet people where they are' isn't just a catch phrase to meet those 'beneath us' but at times requires us to put on a suit and meet 'up'?

Hey guys... I think some of the replies are missing the mark of the subject matter Ben is laying down. Ben has been saying all along that these aren't always the most 'spiritual' tasks and he's acknowledged that some of the folks who could be the most benefit aren't yet the most spiritual of people. But what a better way to get face time and have them tuned in but to speak their language and work with them on projects?

Some of you guys are requiring complete spiritual maturity before a person serves. I'm reading that these comments suggest that the only noble service is mindless service.

I think some of this is a knee-jerk reaction by uncomfortable pastors with their systems under attack.

When we (as leaders) only create systems to plug people into tasks that do not tap into any gifting/education/background/passions , etc. of our people then we can expect that those who have great educations, gifting, backgounds will be left out.

So it's cool to leave out people above our pay grade or education level but not people below our pay grade or education? Wow, with that philosophy I would have to ask who is prideful... those Ben suggests we should bring into the fold or we Pastors who are unwilling to get uncomfortable by increasing our capacity in order to speak to those in a world above our own?

Its funny when I read people tossing scripture around as if Ben's making a suggestion that isn't biblical. He's not. He's simply suggesting that we consider that there are people far more intelligent, more rounded and more gifted and that we need to be humble enough to invite them to partner in the church in ways they can understand. Not everyone responds to a hot dog and a moon bounce.

Great post Ben! Love the way you went after that group. Here's the thing...there are men and women in our churches that are high capacity people and "according to their ability" (parable of the talents) are wired to play at a different level. I believe the likelihood that they'll return 10 (parable of the minas) goes up when they're in a role that makes it possible. That's clearly a biblical principle. In addition, it's about helping find the right seat on the bus.

@ Tally - you pretty much nailed my response. Actually, I know you did.

@ Ben - I'm curious to know what roles they ended up in or how you used them?

I would add to my previous Scripture tossing (is that like bean bag tossing next to hot dog stand Tally?) that I agree with Ben that it is wisdom for God-given gifts (engineering, etc.) to be used in local churches, and even that 'speaking their language' makes some sense if that equals suits, power point, etc. Tally, I even hear the caution that as a pastor I can fall prey to needing to be the big dog at all times. Disgusting.

HOWEVER, the tenor of Ben's post does not feel like the tenor of the NT to me. Orange vests don't emasculate if the wearer has the heart of (caution ESV Scripture toss alert) Philippians 2, "4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [1] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant."

So, yes, tap guys for their skills and gifting in the life of our churches, but the test of their faithfulness and usability in the kingdom will not be how Uber they are. It will be to what degree (in their hearts) they look like their Savior who washed feet.

The Gospel will be magnified if Mr. Capable is stacking chairs OR if he's mapping out new flow charts for church structures IF he comes at it with a desire to serve in the strength that God supplies.

I think the point of this post is focused on engaging high capacity leaders who may not yet have the heart of Jesus... so that they stick around long enough to see who He is. Until one accepts Christ's nature into their own, he won't understand true servanthood. Just because they aren't there yet, doesn't mean they can't get involved. As un-spirirual as it may be, it's crucial to their spiritual growth.

Corey makes me smile.

Phil 2:4 is ironically the very nature by which we can 'consider the interests of others.'

Serving the poor may mean dressing down for us. Serving the wealthy may mean dressing 'up'.

I only hope -- in our reaction to legalism -- that we don't toss out the concept that in many circles there are proper channels by which we gain an audience. It isn't a spiritual litmus test, it's a pragmatic approach to 'considering the interests of others'.

well, if i felt i wasn't completely tracking before, Ainsley's comments have me really confused?

i'll just sit back and wait for clarification.

are we talking here about men/women who are have demonstrated the gifts and qualities that would make them appropriate church leaders?

or are we talking here about men/women who haven't yet bought into the Jesus thing, and to keep them around we make them leaders in the church, because that is what is acceptable to them?

(i know that second "option" is worded a bit harshly, but that's kind of what i'm hearing, and i'm hoping someone will clear that up for me)

David, you're misunderstanding the word leader here. I'm saying they are leaders in their own industries... not the church.

I just spoke with Bob Buford's personal strategist yesterday whose sole job is to help engage high level business leaders in the church. Google Bob Buford if you don't know who he is. If Bob sees this as a problem, I do too.

Not only that, but I've received several e-mails from business leaders thanking me for posting these thoughts - it's touched a real issue for them.

David, the point of the foot washing story is not to insist that others take up a washbowl. It's for YOU to apply to your own life.

I'm suggesting in these posts that you and I start serving these leaders by giving them a place in the church.

Thanks for the post Ben.

Just curious (maybe you'll get to this) but what did it look like for them to lead?

If serving as a parking lot attendant, or whatever was too little for them, then what did you actually have for them?

Just curious.

Thanks again.

Ben,

I'll try to ask this in a different way.

are you suggesting that the church should be "led" (define it how you want) by people who haven't yet "bought in" to following Christ as Lord?

i'm certainly all about "engaging" all kinds of people in the church... but your previous posts, and this one seem to imply that there are these "high-capacity" leaders out there who need to be given "bigger" jobs in the church in order to be engaged.

if these "bigger jobs" aren't leadership roles, what are they?

(for what it's worth, i'm familiar with bob buford, but not enough to be able to say "if it's okay with him, it's okay with me." i'm not sure i'd say that about anyone?)

i do realize that part of this disconnect is that we have some pretty different views on church leadership and the nature of the church in general. but i do think discussions like this can be good for both of us if we are willing to work to understand the other viewpoint.

David, not everything to be led in your church is of a spiritual nature. Here are a few examples:

-Brokering deals with vendors.

-Navigating zoning codes for building expansion.

-Architectural services.

-Designing strategies for invested funds.

-Creating policies that prevent legal consequences.

-Designing first impression experiences.

-Drafting 10-year, 20-year plans for staffing needs.

-Financial analysis and forecasting.

-Paying for very expensive stuff.

-Starting workplace Bible studies.


I could go on and on, but my guess is that if you're not thinking in this direction, we do have some fundamental differences in how we view the church. I'm done. Thanks for all the comments.

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